The Final Transition Ceremony was planned for the first full moon of August. This was the law of the New Order. Anyone above the age of 55 was considered a detriment to society. It was thought The Olders no longer had anything to contribute and we unable to adapt to the new ways. The Olders gathered at the stadium that led to The Great Bridge. Those who crossed it were never seen in this world again. Sarah found herself thinking how quickly her time had passed. She was an artist and had created many unique pieces of sculpture. It was her 55th birthday and she was in her studio when the patrol came to get her.
“It is your time, they said, you must come with us.”
The Olders walked silently down the road that led to the bridge. They appeared resigned to their fate. Sarah walked with them but her feelings were not of resignation. What was the matter? She knew her transition time had come and what was expected of her. As she continued on silently she also knew she was not ready. As the group walked on she slipped out of line and down a small gully at the side of the road. She quickly hid behind a large boulder waiting for the procession to pass. She remained there, afraid to move for what must have been hours, until she drifted off into an exhausted sleep. When she woke up she realized she had to get moving or risk capture. She saw a small trail that wound up into the mountain and felt compelled to follow it, not sure where she was going but knowing she was running away from the end that was planned for her.
Sarah climbed higher and higher along the narrow winding mountain path. She was grateful for the full moon’s light that kept her from stumbling over rocks or veering too close to the edge. When she glanced over the side, she saw the steep mountain side dropping away into darkness. Looking down made her light-headed and her legs wobble a bit, so she kept her eyes trained on the path ahead. She did not know how long she had been walking when it started to get light.
The trail forked, with a smaller branch curving off to the left into a craggy opening. She decided to explore it to see where it led. She needed to find a place to hide and rest. The opening led into a passage. She could hear water running somewhere. As she walked toward the sound it became louder. The passage opened behind a wall of water. Sarah stepped through and found a small path along a ledge behind the falls. She picked her way carefully along the slippery ground until she came to a wide outcropping. The falls thundered down into a river gorge that ran under a bridge.
“No, it can’t be….. The Great Bridge?” Sarah said, her spirits falling rapidly like the water. Did I come all this way for nothing?, she thought to herself.
Sarah realized she could not remain where she was and she couldn’t go back either. So she climbed down the path at the side of the falls. She froze when she saw some people approaching.
A woman approached first and spoke, “Don’t be afraid, you are not in any danger here.”
“I don’t believe you. I can see The Great Bridge,” Sarah spoke with voice rising.
“You are mistaken. We are helping The Olders to escape to our world.”
Sarah, feeling her apprehension growing, said, “What did you say? Escape to your world? Where do you come from and why do you want to help The Olders?”
“We come from another galaxy but our planet is similar to yours. Some of our ancient explorers discovered Earth.”
“Another galaxy, ancient explorers….,” Sarah mumbled not understanding.
“Let me explain,” replied the woman.
“We discovered your planet when life was just beginning and planted our seeds, our genetic material. We have continued to visit over the years to watch your development. Our societies have shared a similar value. We valued youth over age. Several years ago we were conducting experiments on prolonging youth. We developed an anti-aging vaccine. We thought it was successful until it went terribly wrong. It altered our genome so that our people die in early adulthood. When we lost our ability to age our culture lost its perspective and wisdom. We have learned that true wisdom is only gained with life experience. We share a genetic ancestry with you and hope we can repair our genome with part of yours. The Olders can contribute greatly to our society.”
As Sarah listened she found herself questioning the motives of the strangers. “You would not need to relocate all of the Olders to obtain their genome,”she said.
“The Olders would help persuade our people that we need to repair our genome so we can age. They would bring a living example of the gifts of ageing to our people and the perspective that is missing from our society. They could mentor our youth who have lost their parents and never experienced the benefit of grandparents,” the woman replied.
Sarah noticed a beam of light coming down behind the strangers. “What is that golden light?” she said.
“What you see is the gateway between our galaxies,” the woman replied.
Sarah was startled awake by the knocking on her front door. She must have fallen asleep in her studio. What a strange dream, she mumbled to herself as she opened the door.
“Your time has come,” the patrolman said. They escorted Sarah to the bus that would transport her and other Olders to the stadium for The Final Transition.
The Olders walked silently down the road to The Great Bridge. “I can see a bright light ahead, ” a woman shouted. ” It is the end of us, ” another woman cried out. Sarah smiled and said, “No, it is just the beginning.”
Featured image ‘Bastei Bridge in Saxon Switzerland by Thomas Wolf on Wikimedia. Image ‘Multnomah Falls’ by Jake DeGroot on Wikimedia.
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